Sunday, July 03, 2011

Honourable Mention: Goodbye Light

Goodbye Light was a 5 part web serial directed by Tony Gautier and released over 2011. Now, normally, web serials get an honourable mention on the blog as they are released for free – as opposed to a full review. Goodbye Light has been released on DVD to buy but, as the episodes are still available to watch for free, I decided to hold with the tradition and make this an honourable mention.

The basic premise does have a feel – as I have seen mentioned online – of being the vampire version of Clerks. Set partially in a comic book store the series is reliant on being character driven as we watch the character Vince (Cord Skvarek) cope with becoming a vampire, as well as the reaction of his friends.

drowning sorrows in the bar
The series is episodic, of course, and in the first episode we meet Vince and his best friend Calvin (Jordan Pillar) in a bowling alley. Calvin is attempting to cheer Vince up as his girlfriend, Cassie (Caitlin Herst), and he has split up - due to her indulging in, what apparently was, an orgy of casual sex. After the bowling alley they head to a bar where they meet up with friend Franklin (David C Hayes, the Death Factory: Bloodletting, Blood Moon Rising, Vampire Slayers and Vampegeddon). Mary (Chandra Hawbaker), one of the barmaids, seems to have a thing for Vince – who misses the signs completely – and another, Sarah (Amy Searcy), likes Calvin.

Franklin attacked
After Vince has gone to the toilet and heard sex in there (he assumes, but the astute genre student will know it more likely to be a female vampire feeding and groaning with pleasure) and both Vince and Calvin utterly fail to make a move on the barmaids, Franklin leaves the bar. He is drunk but determined to drive. He gets to his vehicle, gets in and is grabbed from behind and has his throat ripped out.

Nicole Pirshafiey as Raven
The next day a rather hung-over Calvin has to open the comic book store that he and Vince own, as well as being housemates. Also working in the comic book store is Raven (Nicole Pirshafiey). Raven and Calvin have a thing for each other but, in five years, it has never happened. Vince, battling with his post-Cassie depression and his hangover doesn’t make it into work. However an ill-informed visit by Cassie does send him and Calvin back to the bar that evening.

Lara Houston as Winifred
Vince gets rather drunk but Calvin receives a text from Raven. He goes back to see her whilst Vince sets his eye upon a woman in the bar – later revealed to be Winifred (Lara Houston). Calvin and Raven look set to near miss again – despite Raven placing her heart on the line. Raven is leaving as Vince and Winifred come in – lips locked together. As Calvin and Raven – outside – finally kiss we see Winifred reveal fangs.

the first morning, not feeling well
The next day, however, Vince remembers nothing. He later rings Calvin, freaking out. Calvin comes home to discover that Vince has no reflection, runs and hides in his room. Raven comes round, sees the lack of reflection and legs it to Calvin… eventually they do come out to face their friend (there is an argument here when Calvin thinks that he might be a ghost and Raven maintains he is corporeal and therefore a vampire). They go to the bar to try and find the woman he had been with and, when in the toilet, Vince does meet Winifred again (the stall is her dining room, it appears).

Vince had an accident
She tells him that vampirism comes on in stages – the next day will be the last day of sunlight for Vince. We then follow his misadventures as he comes to terms with his vampirism – and has the occasional little accident. Lore-wise vampires have no reflection, a stake will kill them turning them to dust and sunlight burns them (an effect that causes hilarity for Calvin when Vince puts his foot into sunlight). A vampire must totally drain a victim or they will come back as a vampire.

The show is very referential in places… having set his foot on fire (and after the hilarity) Calvin suggests that at least Vince doesn’t sparkle. The comic book store has 30 Days of Night on show and films such as the Lost Boys and From Dusk till Dawn are mentioned in script.

Vince the vampire
The show is very ambitious, not in sfx, which are minimal and do work well, but in dialogue. The fact that this is an attempt to offer a Kevin Smith-esque script with a concentration more on character than actual in-depth narrative means that the filmmakers set themselves a tough task to aspire to. I can’t honestly say that it worked all the way through, but certainly it worked often enough (hitting much more than missing) for this to be an entertaining show to watch. The actors aren't perfect all the time, but hit sufficiently to make us believe in the characters we are seeing and there are many genuinely funny moments.

The show has a Facebook page, with links to the episodes here and the IMDb page is here.

No comments: